|Publication number||US7031933 B2|
|Application number||US 09/823,783|
|Publication date||Apr 18, 2006|
|Filing date||Mar 29, 2001|
|Priority date||Mar 29, 2001|
|Also published as||DE10210262A1, DE10210262B4, US20020143642|
|Publication number||09823783, 823783, US 7031933 B2, US 7031933B2, US-B2-7031933, US7031933 B2, US7031933B2|
|Inventors||Mark A. Harper|
|Original Assignee||Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (23), Non-Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (28), Classifications (10), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention pertains to computers and computer peripheral devices that utilize consumables. More particularly, this invention relates to systems that assist a user that is ordering replacement consumables for a computer peripheral device.
As computer systems have gained widespread use, particularly within network environments, the use of computer peripheral devices has increased significantly. Likewise, the utilization of consumables for such computer peripheral devices has also increased significantly. One problem often encountered with any computer system results because consumables are manually ordered by a user either when they run out of a consumable, or when the computer peripheral device or associated personal computer notifies the user that the consumables have been or are about to be depleted.
One such environment comprises a home environment including a personal computer (PC) and a dedicated computer peripheral device such as a printer that is coupled with the PC via a local (or system) bus. Such an environment has been referred to as a single connection environment, and is exclusive of a computer network environment, but may include a connection to an external network such as the Internet. Another environment comprises an unmanaged network environment including a personal computer (PC), an unmanaged network, and a computer peripheral device having an embedded web server. Yet another environment comprises a managed, enterprise network environment including a server, one or more personal computers (PCs), and one or more computer peripheral devices.
The ordering of consumables for computer peripheral devices within any one or more of the above environments has previously been a manual process. For example, consumables are manually ordered by single connection environment users for photo copiers, facsimile machines, printers and multiple function peripheral devices that include more than one of these functional devices. Due to the wide adoption of such devices within these environments, a need exists to be able to more easily and accurately order consumables to replenish depleted consumables. For example, a need exists to assist in ordering of paper, toner, toner supply cartridges, ink, and ink reservoirs. Furthermore, a need exists for a solution that can be readily configured to suit customer needs, and a specific environment.
The ability to enhance ordering of consumables in a manner that provides multiple levels of functionality so as to facilitate use with a number of different environments would greatly increase the user experience and minimize the time and effort needed to maintain consumables and keep computer peripheral components functional. Accordingly, it is desirable to enhance the ease and speed with which consumables are replenished and/or replaced so that adequate supplies of consumables are available for a computer peripheral device when such consumables are sufficiently depleted so as to warrant replenishment.
A system and method are provided for assisting a user in detecting a need to replenish a consumable. Additionally, the system and method can assist and/or automatically order such consumable for purposes of replenishing the consumable.
According to one aspect, an apparatus is provided for locally setting and storing customer preferences. The apparatus includes a personal computer, a computer peripheral device, a reseller web server, and a device manufacturer web server. The personal computer has a web browser and a messaging system. The computer peripheral device has a messaging system communicating with the personal computer. The reseller web server has a messaging system communicating with the personal computer, and configured to capture customer preferences from a customer accessing the reseller web server to order consumables via the computer peripheral device. The device manufacturer web server has a messaging system, communicating with the reseller web server and the computer peripheral device and operative to receive the customer preferences from the reseller web server and forward the customer preferences to the computer peripheral device using the messaging address for the computer peripheral device.
According to another aspect, a method is provided for locally setting and storing customer preferences. The method includes: providing a personal computer having a web browser, a computer peripheral device, and a reseller web server, each having a messaging system for communicating therebetween; notifying a user at the personal computer that a consumable needs to be ordered for a computer peripheral device having a messaging address; submitting an order from the personal computer to a reseller web page including submitting the messaging address; concurrent with submitting the order, recording preferences of the user submitting the order; and forwarding the recorded preferences to the computer peripheral device using the messaging address.
According to yet another aspect, a method is provided for locally setting and storing customer preferences. The method includes: providing a personal computer having a web browser, a computer peripheral device, a device manufacturer web server, and a reseller web server, each having a messaging system for communicating therebetween; notifying a user at the personal computer that a consumable needs to be ordered for a computer peripheral device having a messaging address; accessing the device manufacturer web server; selecting a reseller from the device manufacturer web server; accessing a reseller web page from the device manufacturer web server; submitting an order from the personal computer to the reseller web page including submitting the messaging address; concurrent with submitting the order, recording preferences of the user submitting the order; and forwarding the recorded preferences to the computer peripheral device using the messaging address.
Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon review of the following detailed description, claims, and drawings.
Preferred embodiments of the invention are described below with reference to the following accompanying drawings depicting examples embodying the best mode for practicing the invention.
This disclosure of the invention is submitted in furtherance of the constitutional purposes of the U.S. Patent Laws “to promote the progress of science and useful arts”. U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8.
Reference will now be made to a preferred embodiment of Applicant's invention. An exemplary implementation is described below and depicted with reference to the drawings comprising an apparatus for locally setting and storing customer preferences. While the invention is described by way of a preferred embodiment, it is understood that the description is not intended to limit the invention to this embodiment, but is intended to cover alternatives, equivalents, and modifications such as are included within the scope of the appended claims.
In an effort to prevent obscuring the invention at hand, only details germane to implementing the invention will be described in great detail, with presently understood peripheral details being incorporated by reference, as needed, as being presently understood in the art.
More particularly, PC 14 comprises a web browser 32, a messaging system 34, a consumable order assistance computer program 36, memory 38, and a central processing unit (CPU) 40. Messaging system 34 comprises an e-mail application program 42. Additionally, consumable order assistance computer program 36 cooperates with an electronic shopping cart 44 in a reseller web server 33 of a reseller 30. A messaging system 234, such as an e-mail application, is included within server 33.
As used herein, the term “electronic shopping cart” refers to a piece of software that functions as a catalog and ordering process for an online reseller store. A shopping cart provides an interface between a company's web site and deeper web site infrastructure. More particularly, the electronic shopping cart enables a customer to select merchandise, review selected items, make modifications or additions to an order, and purchase merchandise. Shopping carts are presently commercially available, and are sold as independent pieces of software, wherein companies integrate a shopping cart into a specific online solution. Alternatively, shopping carts can be offered as a feature from a service provider that creates and hosts a company's e-commerce site.
Computer peripheral device 16 also comprises a messaging system 46. Messaging system 46 comprises an e-mail application program 48. E-mail application program 48 is configured to send notifications to a user at PC 14 indicating a need to order a consumable at computer peripheral device 16.
Bus 18 comprises a network connection or network pathway (or channel) extending between multiple devices within a common network. When environment 13 comprises a managed, enterprise network environment, bus 18 comprises an enterprise network connection or pathway extending between multiple devices and servers within one or more interconnected networks.
Consumable order assistance system 12 includes PC 14, at least one peripheral device 16, communication link 24, and consumable order assistance computer program 36. PC 14 includes web browser 32 and messaging system 34 which cooperates with messaging system 46 of peripheral device 16. Communication link 24 signal couples PC 14 with reseller, or seller, 30 of at least one consumable for peripheral device 16 using web browser 32. In operation, consumable order assistance computer peripheral program 36 is configured to receive a notification from peripheral device 16 via messaging system 46 of a need to order a particular consumable, alert a user of PC 14 of notification, and provide an order location to the user for the consumable.
Consumable order assistance computer peripheral program 36 comprises an automatic reorder or reorder assistance program that notifies a customer that consumables need to be ordered for the computer peripheral device. Program 36 also facilitates the order, consolidates the order, and authorizes the order. For consolidation, one maintainer can consolidate consumable ordering for many printers.
In order to facilitate the ordering of consumables, a customer goes through a purchase process once, and thereafter, the order process is recorded and automated. The recorded facilitation process is stored locally, preferably with the automated tools. By storing the information with the automated tools, once initiated by the notification process, the automated tools can use the preferences and profile data to purchase consumables from a desired reseller using appropriate information.
One feature provided by apparatus 10 is the ability to return user (or customer) preferences and customer profile data back to customer tools, such as purchasing tools 64, that are provided in conjunction with an embedded web server on a computer peripheral device, or printer. The preferences and customer profile data can them be used to implement an automated purchase process.
In one case, customer tools comprise purchasing tools 64 such as a program or utility that facilitates a purchase order.
Another feature provided by apparatus 10 is the ability to automate a customer purchase utilizing a device manufacturer web site and web space. More particularly, a device manufacturer web server 31 of device manufacturer 29 can be used to direct a user to a list of resellers, including links or web addresses to reseller web pages. Web server 31 includes a messaging system 134 such as a messaging system provided by an e-mail system that includes an e-mail application.
As shown in
Preferably, messaging system 46 (see
EWS status page 54 comprises a web page that visually displays printer status, and further provides an order toner button that can be used to navigate to a device manufacturer landing page 56 that enables a customer to select a reseller of the consumable (or toner) and navigate to the reseller to order such consumable. More particularly, a customer navigates from EWS status page 54, to device manufacturer landing page 56, to a reseller selection page 58, and to a reseller shopping cart page 60. During such process, user preferences are recorded by each web page, then passed on to the next web page. Finally, the last web page generates an e-mail 62 that delivers the recorded and collected user preferences back to purchasing tool 64.
To start the recording and collection process, EWS 17 attaches an e-mail address specific to EWS 17 to a data stream such as a common gateway interface (CGI) argument, as EWS launches device manufacturer landing page 56. Landing page 56 comprises an embedded web server supplies order page according to one construction. The device manufacturer landing page retrieves the CGI argument from EWS 17 along with ordering information that the user (or customer) enters. The retrieved CGI argument and ordering information is then attached as preferences and/or order information to the CGI argument, as the landing page 56 launches reseller selection page 58.
A user (or customer) then chooses a reseller from a list of resellers provided on reseller selection page 58. As the user chooses a reseller, reseller shopping cart page 60 is launched. Reseller shopping cart page 60 is configured to gather customer profile data along with customer preferences, and send such data and preferences to the device manufacturer web site where a device manufacturer user preferences e-mail page 62 is generated. The device manufacturer web site (or web server), in turn, sends an e-mail along with an attachment back to EWS 17, using the e-mail address for EWS 17. Such e-mail and attachment sets user preferences for a next consumable supplies purchase. Optionally, a set of e-mail commands are sent back to EWS 17 via page 62.
According to one implementation, supplies out alert 52 can be configured to trigger the automatic reorder of consumable supplies for device 16. More particularly, purchasing tool 64 can be configured as an automated ordering tool that retrieves the preferences received from e-mail 62 and launches an automated order process, thereby bypassing a manual consumable supplies ordering process.
Applicant's invention provides one benefit in that e-mail is capable of passing cleanly through firewalls between networks. Thus, such e-mail provides an effective feedback loop that extends through a customer's firewall. Another benefit is provided in that customer data is capable of being delivered to a device manufacturer web server where such data can be provided to track the manner in which consumables and supplies are used by customers in a real-world environment. Yet another benefit is provided in that the e-mail feedback loop can be configured to automatically order so as to provide an automatic consumable ordering feedback control loop via an e-mail feedback mechanism.
In Step “S1”, a personal computer, a computer peripheral device, and a reseller web server are provided. The personal computer has a web browser. Each device includes a messaging system for communicating therebetween. After performing Step “S1”, the process proceeds to Step “S2”.
In Step “S2”, the apparatus notifies a user at the personal computer that a consumable needs to be ordered for a computer peripheral device having a messaging address. After performing Step “S2”, the process proceeds to Step “S3”.
In Step “S3”, the apparatus submits an order from the personal computer to a reseller web page including submitting the messaging address. After performing Step “S3”, the process proceeds to Step “S4”.
In Step “S4”, the apparatus, concurrent with submitting the order, records preferences of the user submitting the order. After performing Step “S4”, the process proceeds to Step “S5”.
In Step “S5”, the apparatus forwards the recorded preferences to the computer peripheral device using the messaging address. After performing Step “S5”, the process terminates.
In compliance with the statute, the invention has been described in language more or less specific as to structural and methodical features. It is to be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the specific features shown and described, since the means herein disclosed comprise preferred forms of putting the invention into effect. The invention is, therefore, claimed in any of its forms or modifications within the proper scope of the appended claims appropriately interpreted in accordance with the doctrine of equivalents.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US5515268 *||Sep 9, 1993||May 7, 1996||Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki Kaisha||Method of and system for ordering products|
|US5835817 *||Jul 28, 1997||Nov 10, 1998||Hewlett Packard Company||Replaceable part with integral memory for usage, calibration and other data|
|US5960411 *||Sep 12, 1997||Sep 28, 1999||Amazon.Com, Inc.||Method and system for placing a purchase order via a communications network|
|US6065824 *||Oct 31, 1997||May 23, 2000||Hewlett-Packard Company||Method and apparatus for storing information on a replaceable ink container|
|US6141507 *||Jul 9, 1999||Oct 31, 2000||Ricoh Company, Ltd.||Service system for image forming apparatuses|
|US6233409 *||Jan 10, 2000||May 15, 2001||Hewlett-Packard Company||Redundant reorder prevention for replaceable printer components|
|US6264301 *||May 11, 1998||Jul 24, 2001||Hewlett-Packard Company||Method and apparatus for identifying parameters in a replaceable printing component|
|US6271928 *||Mar 4, 1998||Aug 7, 2001||Hewlett-Packard Company||Electrical storage device for a replaceable printing component|
|US6293144 *||Jun 25, 1998||Sep 25, 2001||Canon Kabushiki Kaisha||Method and device for monitoring the consumption of a product, for example a printing ink, using a low-pass filter|
|US6295423 *||Jan 10, 2000||Sep 25, 2001||Hewlett-Packard Company||Methods and systems for monitoring consumable item lifetimes for peripheral units|
|US6302527 *||Oct 8, 1999||Oct 16, 2001||Hewlett-Packard Company||Method and apparatus for transferring information between a printer portion and a replaceable printing component|
|US6312106 *||Apr 20, 1999||Nov 6, 2001||Hewlett-Packard Company||Method and apparatus for transferring information between a replaceable consumable and a printing device|
|US6333790 *||Sep 24, 1998||Dec 25, 2001||Hitachi Koki Co., Ltd.||Printing system wherein printer connected to one computer is managed by another computer over a network|
|US6405178 *||Dec 20, 1999||Jun 11, 2002||Xerox Corporation||Electronic commerce enabled purchasing system|
|US6529692 *||Nov 10, 2000||Mar 4, 2003||Hewlett-Packard Company||Consumable order-assistance system for computer peripheral device within a single connection environment and method for replenishing consumables|
|US6798997 *||Sep 14, 2000||Sep 28, 2004||Xerox Corporation||Supply ordering apparatus|
|US20020042747 *||Dec 15, 2000||Apr 11, 2002||Istvan Anthony F.||Automatic prompting for printer ink refill|
|US20020072998 *||Dec 8, 2000||Jun 13, 2002||Haines Robert E.||Consumable order-assistance system for computer peripheral devices within a centralized network environment and method for replenishing consumable components|
|US20020073148 *||Dec 13, 2000||Jun 13, 2002||Haines Robert E.||Self-adjusting order-assistance system|
|US20020093676 *||Jan 18, 2001||Jul 18, 2002||Travis Parry||Automatic download to print job retention|
|US20020143642 *||Mar 29, 2001||Oct 3, 2002||Harper Mark A.||Process for setting and storing ordering preferences and profile data locally|
|US20020165784 *||Mar 1, 2001||Nov 7, 2002||John Taggart||Launch service or purchase request directly from a network-enabled appliance|
|EP0715221A1 *||Nov 28, 1995||Jun 5, 1996||Mita Industrial Co. Ltd.||Imaging device with stock supervision means|
|1||*||Bliss, Jeff, "Xerox eyes printer arena", Computer Reseller News, n741, pp137-138, Jun. 16, 1997. Retrieved from Dialog File: 15, Acc#: 01436555.|
|2||*||No author, "Xerox Leads the Industry With Fastest-Ever Office Color Printer", Business Wire, Mar. 20, 2001. Retrieved from Dialog File: 16, Acc#: 08439562.|
|3||*||Rath, Douglas "Xerox", Computer Reseller News, n742, pp162, Jun. 23, 1997. Retrieved from Dialog File 15, Acc#: 01442664.|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7124097 *||Jan 23, 2002||Oct 17, 2006||Xerox Corporation||Method and system for ordering a consumable for a device|
|US7249171 *||Sep 19, 2002||Jul 24, 2007||Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba||Service control system and computer program|
|US7475026 *||Dec 6, 2002||Jan 6, 2009||Dell Products L.P.||Method for information handling system consumables automated ordering|
|US7663770 *||Jan 25, 2002||Feb 16, 2010||Xerox Corporation||Method and system for shopping for a consumable for a device|
|US7822645||Sep 8, 2006||Oct 26, 2010||Xerox Corporation||Method and system for ordering a consumable for a device|
|US8024236 *||Aug 22, 2003||Sep 20, 2011||Eastman Kodak Company||Method and apparatus for reducing supply orders in inventory management|
|US8046264||Apr 30, 2007||Oct 25, 2011||Xerox Corporation||Directing post-sale supplies revenue to original dealer|
|US8121901 *||Apr 25, 2005||Feb 21, 2012||Apple Inc.||Method and apparatus for providing compatible components for purchase|
|US8676657 *||Dec 12, 2008||Mar 18, 2014||Ibm International Group, B.V.||Automated service and support notices using electronic shopping lists|
|US8818877||Aug 12, 2005||Aug 26, 2014||Apple Inc.||Presenting compatible components and system conditions for computer devices|
|US20030139973 *||Jan 23, 2002||Jul 24, 2003||Xerox Corporation||Method and system for ordering a consumable for a device|
|US20030142338 *||Jan 25, 2002||Jul 31, 2003||Xerox Corporation||Method and system for shopping for a consumable for a device|
|US20040059804 *||Sep 19, 2002||Mar 25, 2004||Toshiba Tec Kabushiki Kaisha||Service control system and computer program|
|US20040103048 *||Aug 22, 2003||May 27, 2004||Nexpress Solutions Llc||Method and apparatus for reducing supply orders in inventory management|
|US20040111326 *||Dec 6, 2002||Jun 10, 2004||David Rock||Method and system for information handling system consumables automated ordering|
|US20060015827 *||Jul 13, 2004||Jan 19, 2006||Christa Ferguson||Method of implementing a screen saver on a peripheral LCD|
|US20060242030 *||Aug 12, 2005||Oct 26, 2006||Blanchard Richard Jr||Presenting compatible components and system conditions for computer devices|
|US20070005392 *||Sep 8, 2006||Jan 4, 2007||Xerox Corporation||Method and system for ordering a consumable for a device|
|US20070118422 *||Jan 11, 2007||May 24, 2007||Hans Berger||Device and method for management of operating materials and/or supplies of an analyzer and analyzing system|
|US20080071626 *||Nov 20, 2006||Mar 20, 2008||Hill Evan M||Systems and methods for event-based automated consumable reordering|
|US20090106125 *||Dec 23, 2008||Apr 23, 2009||Rock Jr David||Method and System for Information Handling System Consumables Automated Ordering|
|US20100066498 *||Dec 12, 2008||Mar 18, 2010||At&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.||Automated service and support notices using electronic shopping lists|
|US20100070338 *||Dec 22, 2008||Mar 18, 2010||At&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.||Anticipatory inventory management via electronic shopping lists|
|US20100070357 *||Dec 12, 2008||Mar 18, 2010||At&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.||Incentive based marketing through social networks|
|US20100070365 *||Dec 22, 2008||Mar 18, 2010||At&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.||Planogram guided shopping|
|US20100070369 *||Dec 3, 2008||Mar 18, 2010||At&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.||Method and system for locating consumers in a retail establishment|
|US20120023027 *||Jul 22, 2010||Jan 26, 2012||Xerox Corporation||Automated method and system for print head warranty verification|
|US20130024385 *||Jan 14, 2010||Jan 24, 2013||Sungsu Kang||Customer service system of home appliances using smart grid|
|U.S. Classification||705/26.8, 705/27.1|
|International Classification||G06Q30/02, G06Q30/06|
|Cooperative Classification||G06Q30/02, G06Q30/0641, G06Q30/0633|
|European Classification||G06Q30/02, G06Q30/0641, G06Q30/0633|
|Jun 4, 2001||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY, COLORADO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HARPER, MARK A.;REEL/FRAME:011865/0688
Effective date: 20010329
|Sep 30, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY L.P., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:014061/0492
Effective date: 20030926
Owner name: HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY L.P.,TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:014061/0492
Effective date: 20030926
|Oct 19, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Nov 29, 2013||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Apr 18, 2014||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Jun 10, 2014||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20140418